An Early Christmas Gift

For some time now Harland and I have talked about wanting to get some company for Kitty. She is alone most of the day and also when we get away on our trips. When we first got her , she didn’t like us or care if we were around, and so it didn’t matter if we were home or not. But Kitty has softened with age and now enjoys our company and misses us when we’re gone. When we return from a trip she clings closely to us for several days, not letting us out of her sight, and calls out to us if she can’t find us. If we return from a really long trip, her voice is hoarse from meowing repeatedly for us in our absence.

Problem is that Kitty is not the most sociable cat in the world. She likes only me and Harland and doesn’t like the barn cats at all. Since we picked her up as a stray, we don’t know if she has ever been around other cats. Still – we think she would benefit from company if she could get to know and get along with another cat.

Which brings us to last Thursday, Thanksgiving day-

We visited my family in Missouri, traveling there on Thursday, and returning home on Friday. On Thanksgiving day, we were driving down a blacktop road in the middle of nowhere out in the country headed to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, when we noticed what appeared to be a dead animal in the middle of the road. Harland swerved to miss it and as we got closer we saw that the “dead animal” was staring at us as we passed. It was a small kitten snuggled up against what appeared to be a dead kitten who had been hit on the road.

We turned around and went back determined to rescue the live kitten before it too got hit. But as we approached the spot again, there was nothing there, dead or alive. Harland pulled the truck over to the edge of the road and we started looking. He found and grabbed one kitten hiding in the ditch, while I grabbed another one. A third one ran out of the ditch, up a driveway and into a barn on an old abandoned farmstead.  So clutching our kittens, we began to search the barn. Every time we got close, the third kitten ran away, terrified. But he called plaintively for his brothers and they answered, so he didn’t run too far away.

Finally after 15 minutes of trying to catch him and realizing we may have to leave him behind, I knelt down behind a low barn wall holding my crying kitten above my head to lure in the wayward kitty. He got closer and closer  and closer….and….

I grabbed him!  Ha!

Once caught however, he began to SCREAM bloody murder which caused the kitten I was holding to panic and bite my finger causing me to yell!!!

I handed the screamer off to Harland and he immediately bit into Harland’s shoulder, causing Harland to start yelling as well!!!!

Fortunately, Harland was wearing a thick jacket and the screamer didn’t break Harland’s skin.

Holding tightly onto the three kittens, and comparing wounds, we finally headed back to the truck.  After I got in, Harland gave me his two kittens and I placed them in my lap along with the third I was carrying. The first two we had caught were short-hair kittens, and the third one we chased around the barn(the screamer) was a longhair. All of them were pale yellow with white legs and faces. Surprisingly, they traveled very well and didn’t  move much as we continued on our way down the road. They were shivering and malnourished. I could feel every rib, and all along their little backbones their vertebrae stuck out.

When we got to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, she loaned us her pet carrier and we placed the kittens inside. We gave them some milk and cut up some turkey for them too. They wolfed down both. We gave them a little litter box and container of water.

We stayed at a B & B that night and the owners kindly let us bring the kittens in to our room so they could stay warm through the night. The next day we got them some dry kitten food. They wolfed that down as well. As we drove back home, the interior of our truck was not very sweet smelling. If food goes in, something has to come out the other end ya know. We repeatedly opened the windows all the way home, a three hour drive.

Once home we set the kittens up in a pen in the garage and turned on the heat for them. They slept the rest of Friday and most of Saturday, getting out of their little bed to eat or use the litter box and then return to bed. Finally Saturday night, the two shorthair kittens began to play with each other. By Sunday, they were running laps around their pen having the time of their lives. But the longhair kitten (the barn chasing screamer), who we had nicknamed Hissy for his charming habit of hissing at us constantly, sat in bed, lethargic, uncaring about the other kittens play. I held him a lot and talked to him. Surprisingly for all his hissing, he turned into a pile of jelly when held. He purred like a little freight train and reached his little paw up to touch my face. Soon, instead of hissing when he saw me, he purred. I began to think of how hard it was going to be to give him up for adoption with the other two.

Still feeling poorly Monday morning, I took Hissy to the vet. When they asked for his name, I gave him one, Muffin.

“Oh great”, I thought – “I broke the rule of never naming an animal I don’t plan to keep.”

At the vet they gave him a wormer, and also a 7 day supply of antibiotics. They also gave me a wormer for the other two kittens. Muffin meowed sadly at me from inside his carrier all the way home.

Monday night Harland took pictures of the kitties for use to advertise their availability to be adopted.

Here are the two short-hairs:

141130_3845

141130_3812

And here’s Muffin:

141130_3824

Monday night, I finally asked Harland what he thought about keeping Muffin. He said it was ok with him, but it would really be up to Kitty.

Since Muffin’s vet visit Monday morning, I’ve watched over him to see if he put on any weight like the other two have done, and to see if he would start playing.  I’ve spent a lot of time holding him and looking into those hazel eyes.

Finally, last night, I watched as he tentatively reached out to his brother’s tail with his paw to bat it around.  Then he got a case of the sillies and started rolling about in his bed and hopping about a bit. I smiled down on him with great relief. He’s going to be ok.

In about a week or so, the two shorthairs will be available for adoption. They’re both eating well and putting on weight, so they should be ready to go by then. I’m getting Kitty used to Muffin’s odor by letting her smell my jacket after I’ve held Muffin. She’s fascinated and makes weird faces as she sniffs intently.

I’m not sure how to go about introducing the two of them together. I’ve heard that they should get used to each other’s odors and it’s a slow process to get two cats together. It may not work. Kitty’s has been queen of her castle for seven years now. I hope she’ll surprise us and let him into her domain. The company would do her good, and I would hate to give Muffin away at this point. He’s wormed his way into my heart.

Anyone out there ever introduced two cats to each other?  Any advice would be certainly appreciated.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

46 comments to An Early Christmas Gift

  • YvonneM

    They are beautiful! Harland took great pics of them. Sorry I don’t have any advice for you – we have never owned any cats, but I sure hope Kitty accepts Muffin.

  • Aww! They are adorable! I love the name Muffin. I hope Kitty likes the new kitten.

  • Rochelle

    When we got our second kitten Sami, Chloe was about 4 years old. Both are female. We didn’t do anything special; Sami wanted to play with Chloe, but Chloe either ignored her or hissed and ran away. After a few weeks Chloe became friendlier and now they play together occasionally.

    • Suzanne

      I suspect this will be the situation with Kitty and Muffin. So hard to predice, we’ll just have to wait and see. Muffin is slowly gaining weight, and is looking perkier all the time. Thanks Rochelle!

  • Rochelle

    Your kittens are adorable BTW!!

  • Rebecca

    It certainly sounds like Kitty needs a companion when you guys are not at home. I love your tender hearts that you and Harland went to so much trouble to rescue these babies.
    And I have a story that is very similar to yours! I had a male neutered cat that was 7 years old when I found a 12 week old stray. Christian was used to only me and disliked other cats. But I brought this tiny adorable, long haired beauty home. She was just a tiny black fluff ball! She was adorable and very affectionate. Christian took one look at her…..hissed once….and he too fell in love! So Lucy stayed.
    I know more now about cats than I did back in 2000. I realize how fortunate I was that those two took to one another right off. Now a days it is suggested that you bring the new kitten/cat into your home and place in a spare room,so they acclimate to their new environment. Then introduce the old cat to the new cat through the door or carrier, ect over the next few days or a week. This may not be necessary for every situation. You know your cat better than anyone.
    Christian is no longer with us. Lucy has a new buddy named Molly. They instantly fell in love when first introduced. I planned to do it gradually but Lucy was in a hurry to meet her new friend. It all worked out fine.
    I hope all goes well. The kittens are all so cute! I know they will find homes soon. Keep us posted!
    Florida hugs,
    Becca

  • Glenda

    What a neat story with what I hope is a happy and satisfactory ending for all. It will be fascinating to see how it all turns out. Cute kittens!

  • Oh, my gosh. They’re beautiful. And my Dixie Rose is just like your Kitty, as far as behavior when I go away.

    I’ve not introduced kitties to one another, but I know someone with experience. I’ll get in touch with her and have her come over and read your story and leave any hints she might have. She has a lot of experience.

  • Anne Comer

    Oh, I see signs of curly hair. My long haired yellow/white kitty has lots of curly hair mostly on her tummy and her pantaloons but all of the white hair shows some wave. The yellow hair is somewhat coarser and very straight. So pretty!

  • LaVerne

    Hope it works out good! Maybe you can keep the other 2 as barn kitties? I really enjoy your blog!

  • It’s a good thing I live a thousand miles from you!! That first little one just speaks to my heart. And Muffin’s eyes look so sad. I hope they’ll brighten up as he gets healthier. They are beautiful little ones. Thank you and Harland for rescuing them.

  • Debbie

    Muffin is beautiful!
    I’ve introduced 3 cats to one another.
    Here are my thoughts & some important tips:
    1) Keep them separated for several dayMuffin is beautiful!
    I’ve introduced 3 cats to one another.
    Here are my thoughts & some important tips:
    1) Keep them separated for several days, but where they can smell each others scent.
    Maybe keep Muffin in extra bedroom, bathroom, or utility room.
    2) Kitty will naturally be really curious about what is behind the door, the other cat’s scent, why you dissapear in there, etc. This is good!
    3) Dont be discouraged by hisses & growls. That is normal cat behavior for something new & possibly a threat
    4) Cats are all about scent. Mix up their scents, so they come to be really used to each other’s scent before meeting.
    One way is scents you & Harland carry on your clothes & hands. Another way is to take a washcloth, dishtowel or other cloth item, and use it to pet each cat. Intermingle their scents., but where they can smell each others scent.
    Maybe keep Muffin in extra bedroom, bathroom, or utility room.
    2) Kitty will naturally be really curious about what is behind the door, the other cat’s scent, why you dissapear in there, etc. This is good!
    3) Dont be discouraged by hisses & growls. That is normal cat behavior for something new & possibly a threat
    4) Cats are all about scent. Mix up their scents, so they come to be really used to each other’s scent before meeting.
    One way is scents you & Harland carry on your clothes & hands from each cat. Another way is to take a couple of washcloths, dishtowels or other cloth items, and use it to pet each cat. Intermingle their scents. Leave them with each cat to investigate & get used to.
    5) After several days, let them get together in supervised setting.
    Be sure tummies already full, and food not involved.
    I’ve found a playful cat is more relaxed about someone else joining them in play.

  • Debbie

    (Cont)
    Start playing with Kitty, maybe a wand toy she can chase & jump on. Something you’ve also used to play with Muffin. Let Muffin join in the playtime, so they are both acutely focused on their “prey”. Maybe this will distract from focus on each other. See how that goes, and how Kitty reacts.
    6) Always remember Kitty lived in your home first! Give her the respect & preference that comes with that.
    She may feel threatened that the new one will usurp her place. Feed her first. Pet her first. Treat her first.
    7) Feed them separately, especially in the beginning. They should not have to feel defensive about food.
    Also, kitten needs higher cal kitten food. They will probably always want the other cats food, lol! Mine still want
    the others food.
    8) There may be hisses, growls & posturing at times. The cats will need to work out dominance issues.
    Even if Muffin ends up being the Alpha cat, Kitty should still be first for you & Harland.
    9) I brought an 8 month old kitten home, & he has been dominate since the beginning. He & my older cat still wrestle & play. Sometimes more intensely than others. The younger one still jumps on/attacks the older one at times,
    but in general, they get along. Never sleep together, but get pretty close to each other.
    Well, these are my thoughts, and what has worked for me! Sorry the first part has mixed up sentences!
    Hope this helps!

  • DebbieB

    I introduced an 8 week old baby, Grady, to my 10 year old Allie who is the original grumpy cat. I was hoping her mommy instincts would come out but it didn’t happen. I kept them separated for about 2 weeks but that was easy because Allie didn’t want anything to do with him, though he loved her from the very beginning. After he got a little bigger they seemed to be more on equal terms. I think Allie was overwhelmed by Grady’s kitten energy. Took a while before they could eat together because Allie wouldn’t come into the kitchen when he was in there. After about 2 months everyone seemed comfortable together. They love each other now. Summer of 2013 we found a tiny baby at a gas station and naturally kept her. Sophie is such a sweetie and the other 2 accepted her with no problems in a very short time. Allie is now 14, Grady is 4 and Sophie 1 1/2 and I have to say we have a pretty congenial little cat family. Go for it, it’s really so much fun to have multiple cats.

  • Oh, I SO hope that Kitty will accept Muffin. I have no advice, but have heard that it’s easier if the newcomer is a kitten. All three kittens are adorable, and I hope the other two are quickly adopted.
    Your Harland sounds just like my hubby: he would have gone to great lengths to save those kitties, too.
    Good luck, and I know you’ll keep us posted!

  • Jeanne

    What a sweet thing you’ve done! I’m sorry Muffin bit you, and hope it’s healed up with no problems! They can be so unpredictable! You’ve already received some good advice, so I won’t add my two bits. I just hope all works out well for all three babies and especially for Kitty!! After all, she IS your First Lady! 🙂

    • Suzanne

      Harland had a bruise on his shoulder where Muffin bit him, and my finger was sore for a few days where one of the shorthairs bit it, but we’re both ok. They were just terrified. Thanks Jeanne! Will work hard to let Kitty know she is the First cat of the house when Muffin comes into her life.

  • What sweet kittens…I’m glad you were able to rescue them! I really hope things go well with Kitty and Muffin, and I think with some time and patience, it will. They’ll probably become good friends. 🙂

  • Evelyn

    Your hearts are as soft as mine when it comes to kitties! The separating thing really works; and separate litter boxes too. I’m surprised you aren’t already keeping the new one in the house but maybe introducing Kitty to the smells first is the better way to handle it. I have a grumpy cat too and I don’t know what would happen if I brought another cat into the mix. Bless you for your rescue efforts! I hope all works out well for everyone!

    • Suzanne

      Thanks Evelyn. I’ve not brought him in yet because he’s still not in perfect health yet and I don’t want to stress him out. He’s more comfortable with his brothers company when we are away all day right now. I am planning on bringing him into the house a little each day to get him used to the house soon, before he meets Kitty. (I’ll have her in another room of course)

  • I introduced my two lady cats to each other – an 8 year old introvert to newly adopted new 2 year old extrovert. I was too excited and ended up rushing the process, so it took an anxious while for emotions/scents/habits to settle down into something comfortable and relaxed (especially for the introvert), but it eventually happened.

    Even though I wouldn’t consider them as close as kin, they have come a long way since they met: sharing space comfortably, “playing” (more like an uncertain ‘tag’), hunting and sitting outside together – although they certainly try to refrain from touching each other. And there has never been any incidents of either cat feeling too uncomfortable to eat or sleep while the other was around. I doubt they will ever be bosom buddies, but considering they have only known each other for a year, it’s a peaceful coexistence.

    Oh – and they both get equal love and attention, of course! Kitty will find a way to make sure the little scamp knows she is queen of the castle. Good luck!!! I look forward to new posts with the wee one!

  • Beautiful kittens!!!
    Love your rescue story. Getting a case of the sillies is a good description of when kittens just roll around and well, be silly! Good luck on the introduction to Kitty.

  • Jim McCain

    Hi Suzanne, I haven’t written you in quite a while though I always read your blog each time you put something new up. I want to share a couple of things with you but first are the kittens. I haven’t had a cat in many, many years but one came to me at work and with no one else in the area I decided to take it home with me and try to find the owner the next day. I put messages on Facebook and visited with people closest to where I work and no one knew the cat. I was leaving on vacation in 3 days so had to make a decision. Wasn’t a difficult thing to do because I instantly fell in love with the young cat. So when I was ready to leave on my trip, I let the vet board her, spay and anything else she needed. 9 days away on this trip so I had a hefty bill upon my return to say the least. So at this point, no way was anyone getting that cat back. LOL… I absolutely adore this animal and she is the most lovable cat I have ever seen. She fills my evenings with laughter when before all I had was the computer or TV. So my new found friend was a great blessing… Now, I think it’s a grand thing that you and Harland did rescuing those babies. I was in Emporia last Friday and Saturday and if I had known about them, I might have taken the 2 off your hands. You asked for help with them and I have a friend in Albuquerque that is into cat rescue big time. Her advice for now was not to separate them for a while. They are very young and she says they need each other much like children would. So that’s my message from her to you. I know you have no desire to keep all three but maybe for a while? I understand your saying barn cats don’t last long there just as they don’t here in Oklahoma.. So I hope this works out for you and them. If it wasn’t so far back up there I would come get 1 or 2. Let me know how things go with them. K ? I’ll get back with you later on the other thing I wanted to discuss. It’s about the old 1 room schools and stuff in the Flint Hills. I spend a day and a half chasing down those things so want to visit with you sometime. Take care and thanks to you and Harland for being so kind to animals and people ! 🙂 Jim

    • Suzanne

      Thanks Jim for all your advice ans so glad you found your wonderful cat. We don’t watch tv much either – don’t need to for all the entertainment our Kitties are giving us these days. Take care,
      Suzanne

  • Linda

    I currently have four cats and have had as many as six at one time in the past. In my lifetime I have probably had at least 15-20 cats. For the most part, they have gotten along. No matter how they are introduced, they seem to eventually find a way to live in relative peace. None of the cats I have now are really “friends”, but they rarely fight. An occasional spat and some hissing now and then, but no actual fighting. I have had one exception to this. I “inherited” my brother’s two cats when he died several years ago, and one of them was a handful. We were never able to integrate him into the herd. He just never got along with any cat other than his “brother”, whom he had lived with his entire life. And he had a terrible habit of spraying to mark territory when he felt threatened, in spite of the fact that he was neutered as a kitten. So we finally had to segregate them. He and his brother lived in the basement and the other four lived upstairs. They occasionally intermixed, but only for brief supervised periods. His brother died of kidney failure a couple of years ago and he didn’t last much longer, in spite of the fact that he seemed well when his brother died. We think he died of a broken heart. When the only other cat that he had ever gotten along with was gone, he just went into a tailspin. No amount of attention from us seemed to help. So even though he seemed to hate most other cats, he really depended on the one cat he loved. And his redeeming quality was that he loved people. He was quite a snuggler and loved attention. But, as I said, of all the cats I have had, he is the only one to be so difficult about other cats. Usually they just establish a pecking order and everyone gets along ok. I love cats, and I love watching their very different personalities come into play. I can’t imagine life without a handful of them! Good luck with both/all of yours.

    • Suzanne

      so sad about the cat you had who only got along with one cat. Too bad our Kitties can’t give us their history when we get them, but it was great that he had a good home with you. Thanks for your advice, appreciate it, Linda!

  • Linda

    I want to add a link to an article I just read. It mostly says what you already know, but has some good tips nevertheless.

    http://www.pet360.com/cat/health/one-cat-two-cat-three-cat-more/_SL-Ex7GiUKJcxnUsRmoNA#

  • Haven

    This tip may have already been offered, but it worked for us so I’m sharing. When we introduced a crazy kitten into our home after having a solitary cat for several years we did it in stages – keeping the kitten behind a bathroom door and letting big cat sniff about. We’d bring kitten out and sit her on our laps and let her sleep and purr while big cat did some more sniffing. The best trick we used was to put kitten under an overturned laundry basket where she could bounce and play and big cat could watch and sniff but not harm. Soon they were touching noses through the laundry basket and making nice. It didn’t happen instantly, but it did happen. Kitten has been here a year now and they’re buddies. Keep at it, two purring cats in a house is a delight. 🙂

  • Rural TN

    Get a cat pheromone spray. Works wonders.

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